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Child Custody And Visitation

Learn About Georgia Child Custody And Visitation Laws And How Our Law Firm Can Protect Your Interests

Child custody and visitation have a profound impact on the future of children and both parents. Parents and their divorce lawyers work to reach an agreement on custody and visitation. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, a divorce court judge will make the final decision.

Divorces in Georgia involving children include assigning physical custody and legal custody. Regarding physical custody, one parent is designated as having primary physical custody and the other parent is designated as having secondary physical custody. For practical reasons, the parent with primary custody generally gets final decision-making authority in the co-parenting process.

You have the right to change custody and visitation. If your feelings or life circumstances later change, you can petition the court to change custody and visitation by filing a modification action. Generally, you have to wait at least one year after your divorce decree is issued to file for a modification. You can file for a modification only every two years.

Legal And Physical Custody

There are two forms of child custody in Georgia: physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the child’s living arrangements. Parents can share physical custody in some combination, or one parent can receive sole custody, with the other parent generally having regular visitation time. The physical custody arrangement must be in the child’s best interests.

Legal custody is the right of a parent to help make decisions about the child’s upbringing. Parents usually share legal custody, even if one parent has sole physical custody. Issues that parents with legal custody get to have a say in include:

  • Where the child will go to school
  • Health care decisions, such as who their doctor will be
  • What religion the child will be raised in, if any
  • What extracurricular activities will the child participate in

Even though you and your co-parent are no longer together, you will need to find a way to work together to make these vital choices.

The Difference Between Sole And Joint Custody

Joint custody means both parents have decision-making authority over child rearing. The other side of the coin is that both parents must discuss any major decisions about the child’s upbringing.

Sole child custody means only one of the parents has physical and legal custodial rights and the other parent has no direct control. Sole custody typically occurs when a parent has problematic behaviors, such as child abuse or drug addiction, that make it impossible for them to provide a safe environment for the kids. Parents denied visitation rights can still be ordered to pay child support.

Temporary Child Custody

Temporary child custody is determined by the court to provide stability while the divorce process runs its course. Typically, temporary custody is given to the parent who lives in the existing marital home. If you disagree with the decision on temporary custody, you can request an emergency hearing to have a judge change the situation.

Visitation Schedules And Co-Parenting In Canton

Visitation schedules and your co-parenting are the core parts of your divorce. While there are customary visitation schedules, parents are free to create the schedule that meets their preferences. Courts in the State of Georgia strongly prefer that parents work in a cooperative manner in serving the best interests of their children.

Contact A Canton Child Custody Attorney Today

If you need help with a child custody or visitation issue in North Georgia, contact Law Office of Eric A. Ballinger. I have been helping families navigate complex family law issues for over 30 year. Set up a consultation by calling 770-479-2020 or online.